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The Falling

In the action itself, she is weightless and free. The flight is not to be feared, only the impact. A story on the life of Esme Cullen. Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Banner By incredible Iris!

I may submit this to the official site. What do you think?

62. Chapter 62

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Into the last hope

For a moment, they simply sit there. Then the girl—Mandy, it was, stands. “Come on, fellers. Give the lady an answer.”

She is clearly the leader. Fortunately, I seem to have somehow won her respect. The others follow—there are perhaps twenty of them. One by one they stand. The first up is a scrawny girl, a fourth grader, obviously the lowest in the social hierarchy of the schoolroom. She almost springs to her feet following Mandy’s command.

“Yes, ma’am,” she says.

A boy, her brother perhaps, follows after a respectable pause, and then his friends, two long limbed blond teenagers. I watch as the seated and surly students stand, deliver a chorus of “Yes, ma’am,”s and then sit back down.

“Thank you very much. I appreciate it.”

“You’d better,” Mandy warns. “Or we ain’t sticking with this plan for long.”

I nod. I know where my power comes from. I intend to pay the piper. Besides, it isn’t like what they expect from me is anything less than what I planned to give them all along—a good education, a sympathetic ear, a home away from home. “Dinner time. Why don’t you go on outside?”

They file out, one by one.

I watch them go and smile as the young girl, the one who stood up first… her name is Katherine, I remember… stumbles on the step. Her brother grabs her arm and stands her upright, and so the little procession continues.

They have a world here that works for them. I just have to inject culture and education into it. I won’t interfere with their friendships. Those work fine as they are.

I nod to myself and dig through my bag, finding the familiar copy of Romeo and Juliet. That play simply will not leave me alone.

I sigh and decide it will work as good as any for this first lesson. I stand, setting myself to copy out some verses on the chalkboard.

When the children come back in, still one by one, with the youngest in front and the oldest in back, I point out what I’ve written.

“Who can tell me what that says?”

Not a hand goes up. I wait. I can hear the sound of forty pairs of lungs, in and out, in and out. I imagine I hear their matching heartbeats too, thumping silently.

Finally, one of the older boys answers. Mark, I think, with dark hair and a crooked smile.

“Yes, Mark?”

I get the name right, fortunately. He reads the passage in a monotone voice, and I smile and thank him. Then I flip the copy open and begin to read the story.

“In fair Verona where we play our scene…”

I read the entire play that first day, without any prelude. Once I’ve finished, I ask, “Anyone know what that was?”

A girl named Jane, perhaps six years old and in the very first row, raises her hand. “William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet,” she answers promptly. From the stunned stares around her, I wager she’s not in the habit of delivering replies. “What? My pa reads it to me.”

“Thank you, Jane.”

She beams, showing her missing front teeth. “You’re welcome, Esme.”

And the last fall…